Mrs Ali Shelton
Ali Shelton, 47 from Ramsden Heath in Essex, has been an Assured
Breeder for almost three years. She has bred four litters of
Labrador puppies and became part of the only dog breeders to be
certified by a UKAS accredited body after receiving an inspection
visit in January 2014. Here she explains why she joined the Assured
Breeder Scheme (ABS) and her experiences so far.
When and why did you start breeding?
I first thought about breeding dogs a few years ago because I
had a bitch with a wonderful temperament, and once I had made that
decision I was determined to do it well. I carried out extensive
research beforehand and made full use of the Kennel Club's website
and had many a long discussion with my vet who has always been, and
still is, very supportive to me and a keen supporter of the
Why did you join the Assured Breeder Scheme?
I decided to join the ABS because I wanted the confidence and
the reassurance that I was doing all of the right things by my
girls and the breed. As a novice breeder, it was reassuring to be
able to tick the boxes and to have access to help and guidance.
How did you feel about having a visit from a standards
I knew that inspections were part of the process and, for me,
that is one of the key strengths of the scheme. This is even more
true now that they are compulsory for existing and established
breeders as well as anyone joining the scheme before they start
breeding and for every three years thereafter. The inspection
process means anybody who is making mistakes or perhaps not doing
enough for their dams, sires or puppies will be asked to make
changes, and if they can't or won't they will be removed from the
scheme. I was very much looking forward to my assessment and I
believe this new process will enhance the reputation of breeders on
the scheme and give better clarity to puppy buyers. It has
certainly helped me, as a novice, to ensure that I am doing
How did you find the assessment visit?
I had my first inspection recently and the whole process was
efficient and professional. I found the standards assessor to be
personable and knowledgeable. We struck a note on many things. She
was with me for two or three hours and we went through a
questionnaire together, which covered issues such as the place I
live and how it is set up for breeding, my motivation for breeding,
what steps I take in rearing my puppies, what I think is important
for the breed. The whole process was very open and she told me her
views and well as listening to mine. She came around the premises
and saw the pups in their day-to-day environment, so the whole
thing was a reassuring, positive and enjoyable experience.
What is the biggest advantage to being an Assured Breeder?
One of the biggest advantages of the scheme, for me, is that I
wanted to ensure that there was a clear distinction between me and
the many puppy farmers that are sadly ruining so many dogs' lives
within our breed. I have seen too many dogs being sold online and
in the papers for £300 or less, and I know that there is tragic
story behind each of them. I am committed to health screening and
DNA testing so that problems within the breed can be lessened, and
I want to be part of a scheme that supports this responsible
attitude to breeding.
Many puppy buyers have found me through the Assured Breeder
List, or through the free Find a Puppy online listing that Assured
Breeders get when they have a litter and that is very reassuring. I
am glad that people are coming to me, and even if I can't help them
with a puppy at the time I spend time discussing what to look for
when researching a responsible breeder or healthy puppy and always
try and point them in the direction of another responsible breeder
I know that there are a lot of other benefits that I would like
to make use of, such as the discounts on health testing, but in my
view the credibility that comes with the scheme, the confidence
that you have guidance and are doing the right things, and the
reassurance that I am helping the breed I love so much by giving
puppy buyers a point of difference between me and the unsavoury
breeders out there, makes it money exceedingly well spent.